- Jul 8, 2003
Ancient tree tells chaotic tale of Earth’s magnetic field reversal
A perfectly preserved ancient tree fossil has offered scientists a unique peek into a moment 42,000 years ago when the Earth’s magnetic field went haywire. The impressive study paints a picture of temporary environmental chaos, potentially influencing everything from an increase in cave paintings to the extinction of the Neanderthals.
Without the Earth’s magnetic field we’d have a pretty hard time living on the planet. Beyond helping us simply navigate around the world with a compass, the Earth’s magnetic field is fundamental to the existence of life. It helps deflect harmful solar winds and keeps our protective atmosphere in place.